Telling Stories

A child so committed to “getting a 4”, she worked for six hours, rushing through lunch to give herself more time. 

A recent arrival to NYS, forced by the state to take a test she couldn’t read. Adults didn’t realize she was copying the test questions and answers over until she was finished.

A high achieving student so stressed by the test, she came home and cried to her parents at the end of the first day. Her parents didn’t send her to school on Day 2 or 3. 

A boy, who loves running and moving, is angry he lost PE because of tests. Again. 

I don’t know any of these children. I didn’t learn of their frustration from them. Rather, I heard their stories on social media. Their parents and teachers, who love them dearly, do not like state tests. It makes sense that when they see children they care for so frustrated by the state tests, they want to make it stop.

So they call it “state sanctioned child abuse” and spam media outlets timelines with the students’ stories. They repeat the stories and the anxiety of everyone who reads them goes up – including the parents of students who were going to take the tests next week.

3-8 testing remains in ESSA – which means unless Congress agrees to change a law they just passed, tests will remain. Is this to be the look and feeling in NYS every April? Will the stories of students’ pain and frustration be traded and swapped to try and change a system that appears impervious?

As I jot down my thoughts, I’m listening to the Linda Darling-Hammond tell the story of No Child Left Behind and how policy makers tend not to listen to the stories – and data – provided by researchers.

And so it goes… and so it goes.

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